The Punter's In-Play Blog: Pendrith shoots clear in Bermuda

Golfer Taylor Pendrith
Taylor Pendrith - the clear leader in Bermuda

There's just one round to go at the Bermuda Championship and Canada's Taylor Pendrith has eased three clear of the field. Read Steve's final thoughts ahead of today's early start here...

"Since 1996, 126 players have taken a three-stroke lead into the final round of a 72-hole PGA Tour event and 65 of them went on to convert. That’s a strike-rate of just a fraction over 50% suggesting Pendrith is a little short at less than 4/5 "

09:10 - October 31, 2021

The halfway leader of the Bermuda Championship, Taylor Pendrith, started his third round slowly and he drifted all the way out to 10.09/1 after he'd played his first six holes in one-over-par.

It looked like he wasn't going to be able to back up Friday's course record 61 but he caught fire after the pedestrian start - birdying four in-a-row from the seventh and seven of the last 12. He even managed a birdie two at the ultra-tough 16th hole after waiting 20 minutes on the tee while Peter Malnati sorted out a penalty drop - one of only four players to do so in round three.

It was an impressive finish and it's now his to lose. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 9:00.

Taylor Pendrith -17 1.784/5
Danny Lee -14 6.86/1
Lucas Herbert -13 8.07/1
Patrick Rodgers -12 18.017/1
Vincent Whaley -12 27.026/1
Peter Malnati -11 42.041/1
Justin Lower -11 75.074/1
-10 and 150.0149/1 bar

Since 1996, 126 players have taken a three-stroke lead into the final round of a 72-hole PGA Tour event (including co-sanctioned tournaments) and 65 of them went on to convert. That's a strike-rate of just a fraction over 50% suggesting Pendrith is a little short at less than 4/5 but it's never that simple.

There's three clear and there's three clear. Some will have been three ahead of a big group of players whereas Pendrith is three clear of one, four ahead of another and five in front of two others. If he can keep his head - and the evidence of yesterday's third round suggests he may well do so - then he's going to be hard to beat.

Pendrith has led or co-led through three rounds on five occasions on the Canadian Tour and his record isn't spectacular. He won by eight at the Mackenzie Investments Open in 2019, having led by five after 54 holes but on the three occasions he'd been tied for the lead and on the one occasion he led by a stroke, he was beaten every time.

The weather is likely to have a bearing on the outcome and so poor is the forecast that tee-times have been brought forward. The leaders now tee off at 12:57 UK time and Sky's life coverage begins at 15:00.

Ordinarily, I'd be looking to take on the leaders in blustery conditions but looking at the forecast it looks like the last few groups will be contending with rain rather than wind. It's still going to be blowy when Pendrith and co take to the course but it won't be as ferocious as it's going to be first thing today. It is going to be wet though.

It's almost impossible to imagine one of the early starters making the huge move required and it's very hard to look past the leading group. Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship back in June from six adrift but that's the furthest back anyone has won from this season and he's eight adrift this morning.

I'm kicking myself for not backing Danny Lee yesterday but I'm happy to leave the event alone now. I do think it will be either Lee or Lucas Herbert that capitalises if the leader fails to keep his cool, but it doesn't feel like a tournament I want to get any further involved in at this stage.

I'll be back tomorrow with the De-brief.

12:10 - October 30, 2021

The AM-PM side of the draw at the Bermuda Championship were disadvantaged by almost three strokes. The scoring average on Thursday morning was 74.19 compared to 71.27 for the later starters and there wasn't anything in it yesterday, with the afternoon starts shooting 69.23, after the morning wave had averaged 69.27. Despite that, Canada's Taylor Pendrith, who was drawn on the wrong side, backed up a level-par 71 on Thursday morning with a career-low course record 61 yesterday afternoon. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 12:00.

Taylor Pendrith -11 4.57/2
Patrick Rodgers -10 6.25/1
Vincent Whaley -9 12.5
Danny Lee -8 23.022/1
David Skinns -8 29.028/1
Lucas Herbert -7 19.018/1
Peter Malnati -7 36.035/1
Justin Lower -7 55.054/1
Patrick Flavin -7 75.074/1
-6 and 29.028/1 bar

This is only Pendrith's 13th start on the PGA Tour and he's yet to finish inside the top-10 so the Korn Ferry Tour graduate is in uncharted water but there is some evidence to suggest he can kick on from here.

He shot 62 in the second round of the Mackenzie Investments Open on the Canadian Tour in 2019 and backed it up with another to go from tied for the lead to five clear. He finished up winning by eight!

A month earlier, Pendrith had won the 1932byBateman Open on the Canada Tour after shooting 62 on Sunday to win by three, having trailed by four with a round to go but as yet, they're his only wins. This is a big step up.

Alone in second, Patrick Rodgers is also in search of his first victory on the PGA Tour but he's come close before, and at a course that correlates well with Port Royal. Rodgers only just made the cut at the RSM Classic three years ago and he entered the weekend tied for 64th and 12 off the lead before shooting 61-62 to get into a playoff with the eventual winner, Charles Howell III.

That performance shows what's possible on a short coastal track and why the leaders here might just be vulnerable. Brendon Todd was tied for the lead at halfway before winning the inaugural edition of the event two years ago but last year's winner, Brian Gay, trailed by four in a tie for 12th at this stage.

We witnessed yesterday when Pendrith made up 25 places and Rodgers eight, that there's potential for plenty of change here and given the inexperience of the leaders, an off-the-pace winner is still a distinct possibility.

There are currently 25 players within six of the lead and none of them can be discounted.

The forecast suggests today is the day to construct a score as we look set for another blustery day on Sunday but picking out just who might make a move is tough.

I was tempted to back Danny Lee, who finished runner-up at the Mayakoba Classic in 2018 (Todd and Gay have both won the Mayakoba) but I'm going to leave the event alone for now and see where we are tomorrow.

12:25 - October 29, 2021

Fierce conditions hampered the morning starters on day one of the Bermuda Championship yesterday with winds gusting up to 40 mph and heavy rain falling.

England's Matt Fitzpatrick described the morning as "Brutal. The hardest wind I've ever played in." And Scotland's Russell Knox concurred, "I've never experienced wind that strong."

Matt Fitzpatrick in Bermuda.jpg

The ferocious conditions led to a brief suspension in play and with daylight fading, play was halted for the day with the final groups still having four holes left to play.

The afternoon starters that did get their opening rounds finished have really caught a break. They don't need to return early and finish off and they avoided the worst of the weather yesterday. Brandon Hagy and Chad Ramey are tied at the top after six-under-par 65s and the top-nine on the leaderboard after the opening day all played in the afternoon.

Austin Eckroat and Greyson Sigg are the only day one morning starters to sit inside the top 14 places (tied 10th on -3) and the only other morning starter inside the top 24 places after day one is Seth Reeves, who shot a two-under-par 69.

The scoring average for the morning wave was a whopping 74.19!

As highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, the first two winners of this event both started slowly. Brendon Todd trailed by six in a tie for 25th and Brian Gay sat tied for 64th and seven off the lead so it's far too early to go writing anyone off.

The weather forecast suggests the wind won't be as strong today so yesterday's morning starters should be even further back by the time they kick off their second rounds but I've backed three of them regardless.

The wind is predicted to drop slightly as the day wears on so although they're unlikely to enjoy anything like the advantage enjoyed by yesterday's late starters, they should get slightly better conditions than the morning wave.

I'm happy to take a chance on Reeves, who finished eighth at the Sanderson Farms after a slow start in his penultimate outing. He sat tied for 71st after round one and he was still six off the pace at halfway.

Knox was unlucky with the draw when he finished 11th two years ago so he's one for the notebook for next year whatever he does this week but I though he was too big at 140.0139/1. He needs to get a shift on today after his one-over-par 72 in the worst of the weather yesterday but he's certainly not out of it yet.

And finally, I was quite happy to take 1000.0 about veteran Ben Crane who shot level-par yesterday morning.

Pre-Event Selections:
Ben McCarthy @ 55.054/1
Ryan Armour @ 70.069/1

In-Play Picks:
Seth Reeves @ 80.079/1
Russell Knox @ 140.0139/1
Ben Crane @ 1000.0

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Back 2 u Graeme McDowell @ 110.0109/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 ½ u Brian Gay @ 150.0149/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1u JJ Spaun @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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